Investigation into potentially contaminated water

The Minister for the Environment has announced that Government agencies are investigating potential water contamination around Ohakea and Woodbourne airbases.

“Levels of two compounds, PFOS and PFOA, have been found by the NZ Defence Force (NZDF) to be above guidelines on groundwater at these site. As a result we wish to test the water of properties neighbouring the bases, to see if their water is contaminated,” Hon David Parker said.

The advice of health officials, based on what we know right now, is that there is no acute human health risk, but it is prudent to test drinking water”, Mr Parker said.

“PFOS and PFOA were historically used to fight and train for flammable liquid fires but can no longer be imported or manufactured here.  Neither NZDF or Fire and Emergency New Zealand routinely use foams containing these compounds any more.  However, we are talking to other organisations whose firefighting activities may have used these compounds,” Mr Parker said.

As with many other contaminants, people are exposed to very small amounts of PFOS or PFOA in everyday life through a range of circumstances.

Staff from the NZDF and Ministry of Health have already begun contacting potentially affected properties and talking with residents.

Results from the testing are expected to be available in mid-January.

Further details can be found at www.mfe.govt.nz/PFAS